12. King Banyan Deer [Chapter 1. Compassion]

12. King Banyan Deer [Chapter 1. Compassion]

Buddhist Tales for Young and Old, volume 1, Prince Goodspeaker, Stories 1-50

Once upon a time, an unusual and beautiful deer was born in the forests near Benares, in northern India. Although he was as big as a young colt, it was easy for his mother to give birth to him. When he opened his eyes, they were as bright as sparkling jewels. His mouth was as red as the reddest forest berries. His hoofs were as black as polished coal. His little horns glistened like silver. And his color was golden, like a perfect summer’s dawn. As he grew up, a herd of 500 deer gathered around him, and he became known as King Banyan Deer.

Meanwhile, not far away, another beautiful buck deer was born, just as splendidly golden in color. In time, a separate herd of 500 deer came to follow him, and he was known as Branch Deer.

The King of Benares, at that time, was very fond of eating venison. So he regularly hunted and killed deer. Each time he hunted, he went to a different village and ordered the people to serve him. They had to stop what they were doing, whether plowing or harvesting or whatever, and work in the king’s hunting party.

The people’s lives were upset by these interruptions. They grew fewer crops, and other businesses also had less income. So they came together and decided to build a large deer park for the king, at Benares. There he could hunt by himself, with no need to command the services of the villagers.

So the people built a deer park. They made ponds where the deer could drink, and added trees and grasses for them to eat from. When it was ready, they opened the gate and went out into the nearby forests. They surrounded the entire herds of Banyan and Branch deer. Then, with sticks and weapons and noise makers, they drove them all into the deer park trap, and locked the gate behind them.

After the deer had settled down, the people went to the king and said, “Our crops and income have suffered because of your hunting requirements. Now we have made you a pleasant safe deer park, where you can hunt by yourself as you like. With no need of our aid, you can enjoy both the hunting and the eating of deer."

The king went to the new deer park. There he was pleased to see the vast herds. While watching them, his eye was caught by the two magnificent golden deer, with large fully grown antlers. Because he admired their unusual beauty, the king granted immunity to these two alone. He ordered that they should be completely safe. No one could harm or kill them.

Once a day the king would come and kill a deer for his dinner table. Sometimes, when he was too busy, the royal cook would do this. The body would then be brought to the chopping block to be butchered for the oven.

Whenever the deer saw the bow and arrows, they went into a panic, trembling for their lives. They ran around wildly, some being injured and some wounded, many suffering great pain.

One day, King Banyan Deer’s herd gathered around him. He called Branch Deer, and the two herds joined for a meeting. King Banyan Deer addressed them. “Although in the end, there is no escape from death, this needless suffering due to injuries and wounds can be prevented. Since the king only wishes the meat of one deer per day, let one be chosen by us each day to submit himself to the chopping block. One day from my herd, and the next day from Branch Deer’s herd, the victim’s lot will fall to one deer at a time."

Branch Deer agreed. From then on, the one whose turn it was, meekly surrendered himself and laid his neck on the block. The cook came each day, simply killed the waiting victim, and prepared the king’s venison.

One day, the turn fell by chance to a pregnant doe in Branch Deer’s herd. Caring for the others as well as herself and the unborn one, she went to Branch Deer and said, “My lord, I am pregnant. Grant that I may live until I have delivered my fawn. Then we will fill two turns rather than just one. This will save a turn, and thereby a single life for one long day."

Branch Deer replied, “No, no, I cannot change the rules in midstream and put your turn upon another. The pregnancy is yours, the babe is your responsibility. Now leave me."

Having failed with Branch Deer, the poor mother doe went to King Banyan Deer and explained her plight. He replied gently, “Go in peace. I will change the rules in midstream and put your turn upon another."

And the deer king went to the executioner’s block, and laid down his own golden neck upon it.

A silence fell in the deer park. And some who tell this story even say that silence also fell in other worlds not seen from here.

Soon the royal cook came to kill the willing victim on the block. But when he saw it was one of the two golden deer the king had ordered spared, he was afraid to kill him. So he went and told the King of Benares.

The king was surprised, so he went to the park. He said to the golden deer, still lying on the block, “Oh king of deer, did I not promise to spare your life? What is the reason you come here like the others?"

King Banyan Deer replied, “Oh king of men, this time a pregnant doe was unlucky enough to be the one to die. She pleaded for me to spare her, for the sake of others as well as her unborn baby and herself. I could not help but feel myself in her place, and feel her suffering. I could not help but weep, to think the little one would never see the dawn, would never taste the dew. And yet, I could not force the pain of death on another, relieved to think it was not his turn today. So, mighty king, I offer my life for the sake of the doe and her unborn fawn. Be assured there is no other reason."

The King of Benares was overwhelmed. Powerful as he was, a tear rolled down his cheek. Then he said, “Oh great lord, the golden king of deer, even among human beings, I have not seen any such as you! Such great compassion, to share in the suffering of others! Such great generosity, to give your life for others! Such great kindness and tender love for all your fellow deer! Arise."

“I decree that you will never be killed by me or anyone else in my kingdom. And, so too, the doe and her babe."

Without yet raising his head, the golden one said, “Are only we to be saved? What of the other deer in the park, our friends and kin?" The king said, “My lord, I cannot refuse you, I grant safety and freedom to all the deer in the park." “And what of the deer outside the park, will they be killed?" asked Banyan. “No my lord, I spare all the deer in my whole kingdom."

Still the golden deer did not raise up his head. He pleaded, “So the deer will be safe, but what will the other four-footed animals do?" “My lord, from now on they too are safe in my land." “And what of the birds? They too want to live." “Yes, my lord, the birds too will be safe from death at the hands of men." “And what of the fish, who live in the water?" “Even the fish will be free to live, my lord." So saying, the King of Benares granted immunity from hunting and killing to all the animals in his land.

Having pleaded for the lives of all creatures, the Great Being arose.

12. King Banyan Deer [Chapter 1. Compassion]

Link: https://hhdorjechangbuddhaiiiinfo.com/2022/01/03/12-king-banyan-deer-chapter-1-compassion/

INTERPRETER’S INTRODUCTION – BUDDHIST TALES FOR YOUNG AND OLD, VOLUME 1, STORIES 1-50

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11. Beauty and Grey [A Wise Leader]

11. Beauty and Grey [A Wise Leader]

Buddhist Tales for Young and Old, volume 1, Prince Goodspeaker, Stories 1-50

Once upon a time, there was a deer who was the leader of a herd of a thousand. He had two sons. One was very slim and tall, with bright alert eyes, and smooth reddish fur. He was called Beauty. The other was Grey in color, also slim and tall, and was called Grey.

One day, after they were fully grown, their father called Beauty and Grey to him. He said, “I am now very old, so I cannot do all that is necessary to look after this big herd of deer. I want you, my two grown-up children, to be the leaders, while I retire from looking after them all the time. We will divide the herd, and each of you will lead 500 deer." So it was done.

In India, when the harvest time comes, the deer are always in danger. The rice is at its tallest, and the deer cannot help but go into the paddies and eat it. To avoid the destruction of their crops, the human beings dig pits, set sharp stakes in the ground, and build stone traps — all to capture and kill the deer.

Knowing this was the season, the wise old deer called the two new leaders to him. He advised them to take the herds up into the mountain forest, far from the dangerous farm lands. This was how he had always saved the deer from being wounded or killed. Then he would bring them back to the low lands after the harvest was over.

Since he was too old and weak for the trip, he would remain behind in hiding. He warned them to be careful and have a safe journey. Beauty set out with his herd for the mountain forest, and so did Grey with his.

The villagers all along the way knew that this was the time the deer moved from the low lying farm lands to the high countryside. So they hid along the way and killed the deer as they passed by.

Grey did not pay attention to his father’s wise advice. Instead of being careful and traveling safely, he was in a hurry to get to the lush mountain forest. So he moved his herd constantly, during the night, at dawn and dusk, and even in broad daylight. This made it easy for the people to shoot the deer in Grey’s herd with bows and arrows. Many were killed, and many were wounded, only to die in pain later on. Grey reached the forest with only a few deer remaining alive.

The tall sleek red-furred Beauty was wise enough to understand the danger to his moving herd. So he was very careful. He knew it was safer to stay away from the villages, and from all humans. He knew it was not safe in the daytime, or even at dawn or dusk. So he led his herd wide around the villages, and moved only in the middle of the night. Beauty’s herd arrived in the mountain forest safe and sound, with no one killed or injured.

The two herds found each other, and remained in the mountains until well after the harvest season was over. Then they began the return to the farmland country.

Grey had learned nothing from the first trip. As it was getting cold in the mountains, he was in a hurry to get to the warmer low lands. So he was just as careless as before. Again the people hid along the way and attacked and killed the deer. All Grey’s herd were killed, later to be eaten or sold by the villagers. Grey himself was the only one who survived the journey.

Beauty led his herd in the same careful way as before. He brought back all 500 deer, completely safe. While the deer were still in the distance, the old chief said to his doe, “Look at the deer coming back to us. Beauty has all his followers with him. Grey comes limping back alone, without his whole herd of 500. Those who follow a wise leader, with good qualities, will always be safe. Those who follow a foolish leader, who is careless and thinks only of himself, will fall into troubles and be destroyed."

After some time, the old deer died and was reborn as he deserved. Beauty became chief of the herd and lived a long life, loved and admired by all.

The moral is: A wise leader puts the safety of his followers first.

11. Beauty and Grey [A Wise Leader]

Link:https://hhdorjechangbuddhaiiiinfo.com/2021/12/25/11-beauty-and-grey-a-wise-leader/

INTERPRETER’S INTRODUCTION – BUDDHIST TALES FOR YOUNG AND OLD, VOLUME 1, STORIES 1-50

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10. The Happy Monk [Joys of the Spiritual Life]

10. The Happy Monk [Joys of the Spiritual Life]

Buddhist Tales for Young and Old, volume 1, Prince Goodspeaker, Stories 1-50

Once upon a time, there was a high class rich man. As he became older, he realized that the suffering of old age was about the same for rich and poor alike. So he gave up his wealth and class position, and went into the forest to live as a poor monk. He practiced meditation, and developed his mind. He freed himself from unwholesome thoughts, and became contented and happy. His peacefulness and friendliness gradually drew 500 followers to his side.

At that time, long ago, most monks usually looked pretty serious. But there was one monk who, even though he was quite dignified, always wore at least a little smile. No matter what happened, he never lost this glimmer of inner happiness. And on happy occasions, he had the broadest smile, and the warmest laughter of all.

Sometimes monks, as well as others, would ask him why he was so happy that he always wore a smile. He chuckled and said, “If I told you, you wouldn’t believe me! And if you thought I spoke a lie, it would be a dishonor to my master." The wise old master knew the source of the happiness that could not be wiped from his face. He made this happiest monk his number one assistant.

One year, after the rainy season, the old monk and his 500 followers went to the city. The king permitted them to live in his pleasure garden for the springtime.

This king was a good man, who took his responsibilities as ruler seriously. He tried to protect the people from danger, and to increase their prosperity and welfare. He always had to worry about neighbouring kings, some of whom were unfriendly and threatening. He often had to make peace between his own rival ministers of state.

Sometimes his wives fought for his attention, and for the advancement of their sons. Occasionally, a dissatisfied subject even threatened the life of the king himself! And, of course, he had to worry constantly about the finances of the kingdom. In fact, he had so much to worry about, that he never had time to be happy!

As summer approached, he learned that the monks were preparing to return to the forest. Considering the health and welfare of the old leader, the king went to him and said, “Your reverence, you are now very old and weak. What good does it do to go back to the forest? You can send your followers back, while you remain here."

The chief monk then called his number one assistant to him and said, “You are now to be the leader of the other monks, while you all live in the forest. As I am too old and weak. I will remain here as offered by the king." So the 500 returned to the forest and the old one remained.

The number one assistant continued practicing meditation in the forest. He gained so much wisdom and peace that he became even happier than before. He missed the master, and wanted to share his happiness with him. So he returned to the city for a visit.

When he arrived, he sat on a rug at the feet of the old monk. They didn’t speak very much, but every so often the number one assistant would say, “What happiness! Oh what happiness!"

Then the king came to visit. He paid his respects to the chief monk. However, the one from the forest just kept saying, “What happiness! Oh what happiness!" He did not even stop to greet the king and show proper respect. This disturbed him, and he thought, “With all my worries, as busy as I am looking after the kingdom, I take time out for a visit and this monk does not respect me enough to even recognize me. “How insulting!" He said to the senior of the two monks, “Venerable sir, this monk must be stupid from overeating. That must be why he is so full of happiness. Does he lie around here so lazy all the time?"

The head monk replied, “Oh king, have patience and I will tell you the source of his happiness. Not many know it. He was once a king, just as rich and mighty as you! Then he was ordained a monk and gave up his kingly life. Now he thinks his old happiness was nothing compared to his present joy!"

He used to be surrounded by armed men, who guarded and protected him. Now, sitting alone in the forest with nothing to fear, he has no need for armed guards. He has given up the burden of worrying about wealth that has to be protected. Instead, free of the worry of wealth and the fear of power, his wisdom protects himself and others. He advances in meditation to such inner peace, that he cannot keep from saying, “What happiness! Oh what happiness!"

The king understood at once. Hearing the story of the happy monk made him feel at peace. He stayed for a while and received advice from both of them. Then he honoured them, and returned to the palace.

Later the happy monk, who once had been a king, paid his respects to his master and returned to the lovely forest. The old chief monk lived out the remainder of his life, died, and was reborn in a high heaven world.

The moral is: Unattached to wealth and power, happiness increases.

10. The Happy Monk [Joys of the Spiritual Life]

Link: https://hhdorjechangbuddhaiiiinfo.com/2021/12/21/10-the-happy-monk-joys-of-the-spiritual-life/

INTERPRETER’S INTRODUCTION – BUDDHIST TALES FOR YOUNG AND OLD, VOLUME 1, STORIES 1-50

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9. The King With One Grey Hair [Ordination]

9. The King With One Grey Hair [Ordination]

Buddhist Tales for Young and Old, volume 1, Prince Goodspeaker, Stories 1-50

A very very long time ago, there were people who lived much longer than they do today. They lived many thousand years. At that time, the Enlightenment Being was born as a baby named Makhadeva. He lived 84,000 years as a child and crown prince. At the time of our story, he had been a young king for 80,000 years.

One day, Makhadeva told the royal barber, “If you see any grey hair on my head, you must tell me immediately!" Of course, the barber promised to do so.

Another 4,000 years passed, until Makhadeva had been a young king for 84,000 years. Then one day, while he was cutting the king’s hair, the royal barber saw just one little grey hair on all the king’s head. So he said, “Oh my lord, I see one grey hair on your head." The king said, “If this be so, pull it out and put it in my hand." The barber got his golden tweezers, plucked out the single little grey hair, and put it in the king’s hand.

At that time, the king still had at least another 84,000 years left to live as an old king! Looking at the one grey hair in his hand, he became very afraid of dying. He felt like death was closing in on him, as if he were trapped in a burning house. He was so afraid, that the sweat rolled down his back, and he shuddered.

King Makhadeva thought, “Oh foolish king, you have wasted all this long life and now you are near death. You have made no attempt to destroy your greed and envy, to live without hating, and to get rid of your ignorance by learning the truth and becoming wise."

As he thought this, his body burned and the sweat kept rolling down. Then he decided once and for all, “It is time to give up the kingship, be ordained as a monk, and practice meditation!" Thinking so, he granted the income of a whole town to the barber. It amounted to one-hundred-thousand gold coins per year.

Then the king called his oldest son to him and said, “My son, I have seen a grey hair. I have become old. I have enjoyed the worldly pleasures of great wealth and power. When I die, I want to be reborn in a heaven world, to enjoy the pleasures of the gods. So I will be ordained as a monk. You must now take the responsibility of ruling the country. I will live the life of a monk in the forest."

Hearing of this, the royal ministers and the rest of the court rushed to the king and said, “Our lord, why do you suddenly want to be ordained?"

The king held up the grey hair in his hand and said, “My ministers and subjects, I have realized that this grey hair shows that the three stages of life — youth, middle age and old age — are coming to an end. This first grey hair was the messenger of death sitting on my head. Grey hairs are like angels sent by the god of death. Therefore, this very day is the time for me to be ordained."

The people wept at the news of his departure. King Makhadeva gave up his royal life, went into the forest, and was ordained as a monk. There he practiced what holy men call the ‘Four Heavenly States of Mind’. First is loving-kindness, tender affection for all. Second is feeling sympathy and pity for all those who suffer. Third is feeling happiness for all those who are joyful. And the fourth state is balance and calm, even in the face of difficulties or troubles.

After 84,000 years of great effort meditating and practicing these states as a humble forest monk, the Bodhisatta died. He was reborn in a high heaven world, to live a life a million years long!

The moral is: Even a long life is too short to waste.

The King With One Grey Hair [Ordination]

Link:https://hhdorjechangbuddhaiiiinfo.com/2021/11/23/the-king-with-one-grey-hair-ordination/

INTERPRETER’S INTRODUCTION – BUDDHIST TALES FOR YOUNG AND OLD, VOLUME 1, STORIES 1-50

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6. Prince Goodspeaker and the Water Demon 

6. Prince Goodspeaker and the Water Demon

 [Chapter 1 / 2 – Rebirth of the Bodhisatta]

Buddhist Tales for Young and Old, volume 1, Prince Goodspeaker, Stories 1-50

Once upon a time, there was a very righteous king. He had a lovely queen who gave birth to a beautiful baby. This made the king very happy. He decided to give his son a name that might help him in later life. So he called him Prince Goodspeaker.

It just so happened that the prince was no ordinary baby. This was not his first life or his first birth. Millions of years before, he had been a follower of a long-forgotten teaching ‘Buddha’ — a fully ‘Enlightened One’. He had wished with all his heart to become a Buddha just like his beloved master.

He was reborn in many lives — sometimes as poor animals, sometimes as long-living gods and sometimes as human beings. He always tried to learn from his mistakes and develop the ‘Ten Perfections’. This was so he could purify his mind and remove the three root causes of unwholesomeness — the poisons of craving, anger and the delusion of a separate self. By using the Perfections, he would someday be able to replace the poisons with the three purities — nonattachment, loving-kindness and wisdom.

This ‘Great Being’ had been a humble follower of the forgotten Buddha. His goal was to gain the same enlightenment of a Buddha — the experience of complete Truth. So people call him ‘Bodhisatta’, which means ‘Enlightenment Being’. No one really knows about the millions of lives lived by this great hero. But many stories have been told — including this one about a prince called Goodspeaker. After many more rebirths, he became the Buddha who is remembered and loved in all the world today.

Prince Goodspeaker and the Water Demon

 [Chapter 2/2 – The Teaching of the Gods]

In time, the queen gave birth to another son, who was named Prince Moon. Shortly after both children began walking about, their mother suddenly became very sick, and died.

To help him look after his playful children, the king found a princess to become his new queen. In a few years, this queen gave birth to a beautiful bright little boy. He was named Prince Sun. Since the king was so happy, he wanted to please his queen, and reward her for bringing up all three children. So he promised to grant her one wish. The queen considered, and said, “Thank you my lord, I will make my wish at some time in the future."

As time went on, the three princes grew into wonderful playful youngsters. The queen saw that Prince Goodspeaker was intelligent and understanding. She thought, “If these two older princes remain in the palace, my son, Prince Sun, will never get a chance to be king. Therefore, I must do something to make him the next king."

One day, when the king was in a good mood, the queen respectfully approached him and reminded him of the promised wish. He was very happy and said, “Ask whatever you want!" The queen said, “Oh my husband and king, grant that after the course of your life is over, my son, Prince Sun, will be the next king."

The king was shocked by this request. He became angry and said, “My first two children are like bright stars! How can I give the kingdom to my third son? All the people will blame me. That cannot be done!" The queen kept silent.

As happy as the king had been, he now became just as unhappy. He was afraid and filled with doubt. He suspected that the queen might destroy his first-born children by some wicked means. He decided that he must make sure his children were safe.

Secretly, the king called Prince Goodspeaker and Prince Moon to him. He told them of the queen’s dangerous desire. He sadly said that the only safe thing for them to do was to leave the kingdom. They should return only after their father’s death, and take their rightful places ruling the kingdom. The two obedient princes accepted their father’s order and prepared to leave.

In a few days they were ready. They said their sad good-byes to their father and friends, and left the palace. On their way through the royal gardens, they came upon Prince Sun. He had always been very affectionate and friendly towards his two older half-brothers. He was upset to hear that they were leaving for a very long time. So he decided that he too would leave the kingdom. The three friendly princes departed together.

For several months they travelled, until they reached the forest country of the mighty Himalayas. They were very tired and sat down under a tree. The oldest brother, Prince Goodspeaker, said to the youngest, Prince Sun, “Please go down to the nearby lake and fill some lotus leaves with water. Bring them back here so we can all drink."

They did not know that the beautiful dark blue lake was possessed by a water demon! He was permitted by his demon ruler to eat any beings that he could convince to go into the water. There was also one condition. He could not eat anyone who knew the answer to the question, ‘What is the teaching of the gods?"

When Prince Sun arrived at the shore of the lake, being dry and dirty and tired, he went directly into the water without any investigation. Suddenly the water demon rose up from under the water and captured him. He asked him, “What is the teaching of the gods?" Prince Sun said, “I know the answer to that! The sun and the moon are the teachings of the gods." “You don’t know the teaching of the gods, so you belong to me!" said the water demon. Then he pulled Prince Sun under the water and locked him up in a deep cave.

Since Prince Sun was delayed, Prince Goodspeaker asked the second brother, Prince Moon, to go down to the lake and bring back water in lotus leaves. When he got there, he too went directly into the water without examining. Again the water demon appeared, grabbed him, and asked, “What is the teaching of the gods?" Prince Moon said, “I know the answer to that! The four directions — North, East, South and West — these are the teachings of the gods." “You don’t know the teaching of the gods, so you belong to me!", replied the water demon. Then he locked up Prince Moon in the same underwater cave with Prince Sun.

When both his brothers did not return, Prince Goodspeaker began to worry that they might be in some danger. So he himself went down to the beautiful dark blue lake. As he was a wise and careful person, he did not go directly into the water. Instead, he investigated and saw that there were two sets of footprints leading into the lake – but not coming out again! To protect himself, he got his sword and bow and arrows ready. He began to walk around the lake.

Seeing that this prince did not go straight into the lake, the water demon appeared to him disguised as a humble villager. He said to him, “My dear friend, you look tired and dirty from much walking. Why don’t you get into the water and bathe, drink, and eat some lotus roots?"

Remembering the one-way footprints, Prince Goodspeaker said, “You must be some kind of demon disguised as a human! What have you done with my brothers?" Surprised at being recognized so quickly, the water demon returned to his true ferocious appearance. He replied to the wise prince, “By my rights, I have captured your brothers!"

The prince asked, “For what reason?" “So that soon I can gobble them up!", the demon answered, “I have permission from my demon ruler to eat all those who go into this lake who do not know the teaching of the gods. If anyone does know the teaching of the gods, I am not allowed to eat him."

The Prince asked, “Why do you need to know this? What is the advantage to a demon like you, to know the teaching of the gods?" The water demon replied, “I know there must be some advantage to me." “Then I will tell you what the gods teach," said Prince Goodspeaker, “but I have a problem. Look at me. I am covered with dust and dirt from travelling. I cannot speak about wise teachings in this condition."

By now, the water demon realized that this prince was especially wise. So he washed and refreshed him. He gave him water to drink from lotus leaves, and tender lotus roots to eat. He prepared a comfortable seat for him, decorated with pretty wildflowers. After laying aside his sword and bow and arrows, the Enlightenment Being sat on the adorned seat. The ferocious demon sat by his feet, just like a student listening to a respected teacher.

Prince Goodspeaker said, “This is the teaching of the gods:

You should be ashamed to do unwholesome deeds.
You should be afraid to do unwholesome deeds.
You should always do wholesome deeds –
that bring happiness to others, and help mankind.
Then you will shine with the inner light of calm and peacefulness."

The water demon was pleased with this answer, and said, “Worthy prince, you have completely satisfied my question. You have made me so happy that I will give you back one of your brothers. Which one do you choose?"

Prince Goodspeaker said, “Release my younger brother, Prince Sun." To this the demon replied, “My lord prince, wise one, you know the teaching of the gods but you do not practice it!" The prince asked, “Why do you say that?" The demon said, “Because you leave the older one to die, and save the younger. You do not respect
elders!"

The prince then said, “Oh demon, I know the teaching of the gods, and I do practise it. We three princes came to this forest because of the youngest brother. His mother requested our father’s kingdom for him. So it was for our protection that our father sent us here. The young Prince Sun joined us out of friendship. But if we return to the court without him, and say he was eaten by a water demon who wanted to know the teaching of the gods, who would believe us? They would think we killed him because he was the cause of our danger. This would bring shame to us and unhappiness to the kingdom. Fearing such unwholesome results, I tell you again to release the young Prince Sun."

The water demon was so pleased with this answer that he said, “Well done, well done, my lord. You know the true teaching of the gods, and you do practice that true teaching. I will gladly give back both your brothers!" So saying, he went down into the lake and brought both princes back to shore. They were wet, but unharmed.

Later on, the Bodhisatta gave further helpful advice to the demon. He said, “Oh water demon, my new friend, you must have done many unwholesome deeds in your previous lives, so that you were born as a flesh eating demon. And if you continue in this way, you will be trapped in a terrible state even in later lives. For unwholesome deeds lead to shame, fear and unpleasant rebirth. But wholesome deeds lead to self-respect, peace and pleasant rebirth. Therefore, it would be much better for you to do pure deeds, rather than impure deeds, from now on." This turned the demon from his past ways, and the princes lived together happily under his protection.

One day, word came that the king had died. So the three princes, as well as their friend the water demon, returned to the capital city. Prince Goodspeaker was crowned as king. Prince Moon became the chief minister, and Prince Sun became commander of the army. The water demon was awarded a safe place to live, where he was well fed, cared for and entertained for the rest of his life. In this way they all acquired wholesome meritorious thoughts, leading to rebirth in a heaven world.

The moral is: Unwholesome actions bring shame and fear. Wholesome actions bring self-respect and peace.

6. Prince Goodspeaker and the Water Demon

Link: https://hhdorjechangbuddhaiiiinfo.com/2021/10/24/6-prince-goodspeaker-and-the-water-demon/

INTERPRETER’S INTRODUCTION – BUDDHIST TALES FOR YOUNG AND OLD, VOLUME 1, STORIES 1-50

#PrinceGoodspeaker #TenPerfections #Buddha #Bodhisattva #Buddhisttalesforyoungandold #Buddhiststories #storiesforkids #moralstories #Buddha #Jatakastories #PansiyaPanasJataka

5. The Price Maker [Foolishness]

Story 5

5. The Price Maker [Foolishness]

Buddhist Tales for Young and Old, volume 1, Prince Goodspeaker, Stories 1-50

5. The Price Maker [Foolishness]

Long ago and far away, there was a king who ruled in Benares, in northern India. One of his ministers was called the Royal Price Maker, and he was a very honest man. His job was to set a fair price for anything the king wanted to buy or sell.

On some occasions, the king did not like his price making. He did not get as big a profit as he wanted. He did not want to pay so much when he bought, or sell for what he thought was not enough. So he decided to change the price maker.

One day he saw a nice looking young man and he thought, “This fellow will be good for my price making position." So he dismissed his former honest price maker, and appointed this man to be the new one. The man thought, “I must make the king happy by buying at very low prices and selling at very high prices." So he made the prices ridiculous, without caring at all what anything was worth. This gained the greedy king a lot of money, and made him very happy. Meanwhile, all the others who dealt with the new price maker, including the king’s other ministers and ordinary people, became very unhappy.

Then one day a horse merchant arrived in Benares with 500 horses to sell. There were stallions, mares and colts. The king invited the merchant to the palace, and called upon his Royal Price Maker to set a price for all 500 horses. Thinking only of pleasing the king, he said, “The entire herd of horses is worth one cup of rice." So the king ordered that one cup of rice be paid to the horse dealer, and all the horses were taken to the royal stables.

Of course the merchant was very upset, but he could do nothing at the moment. Later he heard about the former price maker, who had a reputation for being very fair and honest. So he approached him and told him what had happened. He wanted to hear his opinion, in order to get a proper price from the king. The former price maker said, “If you do as I say, the king will be convinced of the true value of the horses. Go back to the price maker and satisfy him with a valuable gift. Ask him to tell the value of one cup of rice, in the presence of the king. If he agrees, come and tell me. I will go with you to the king."

Following this advice, the merchant went to the price maker and gave him a valuable gift. The gift made him very happy, so that he saw the value of pleasing the horse dealer. Then the merchant said to him, “I was very happy with your previous evaluation. Can you please convince the king of the value of one cup of rice?" The foolish price maker said, ‘Why not? I will explain the worth of one cup of rice, even in the presence of the king."

So the price maker thought the horse dealer was satisfied with his cup of rice. He arranged for another meeting with the king, as the merchant was departing for his own country. The merchant reported back to the old price maker, and they went together to see the king.

All the king’s ministers and his full court were in the royal meeting hall. The horse merchant said to the king, “My lord, I understand that in this your country, my whole herd of 500 horses is worth one cup of rice. Before I leave for home, I want to know the value of one cup of rice in your country." The king turned to his loyal price maker and said, “What is the value of one cup of rice?"

The foolish price maker, in order to please the king, had previously priced the herd of horses at one cup of rice. Now, after receiving a bribe from the horse dealer, he wanted to please him too. So he replied to the king, in his most dignified manner, “Your worship, one cup of rice is worth the city of Benares, including even your own harem, as well as all the suburbs of the city. In other words, it is worth the whole kingdom of Benares!"

On hearing this, the royal ministers and wise men in the assembly hall started to roar with laughter, slapping their sides with their hands. When they calmed down a little, they said, “Earlier we heard that the kingdom was priceless. Now we hear that all Benares, with its palaces and mansions, is worth only a cup of rice! The decision of the Royal Price Maker is so strange! Where did your highness find such a man? He is good only for pleasing a king such as you, not for making fair prices for a merchant who sells his horses from country to country."

Hearing the laughter of his whole court, and the words of his ministers and advisers, the king was ashamed. So he brought back his former price maker to his official position. He agreed to a new fair price for the herd of horses, as set by the honest price maker. Having learned a lesson, the king and his kingdom lived justly and prospered.

The moral is: A fool in high office can bring shame even to a king.

5. The Price Maker [Foolishness]

Link: https://hhdorjechangbuddhaiiiinfo.com/2021/10/17/5-the-price-maker-foolishness/

INTERPRETER’S INTRODUCTION – BUDDHIST TALES FOR YOUNG AND OLD, VOLUME 1, STORIES 1-50

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4. The Mouse Merchant [Diligence and Gratitude]

Story 4

4. The Mouse Merchant [Diligence and Gratitude]

Buddhist Tales for Young and Old, volume 1, Prince Goodspeaker, Stories 1-50

Once upon a time, an important adviser to a certain king was on his way to a meeting with the king and other advisers. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw a dead mouse by the roadside. He said to those who were with him. “Even from such small beginnings as this dead mouse, an energetic young fellow could build a fortune. If he worked hard and used his intelligence, he could start a business and support a wife and family."

A passerby heard the remark. He knew this was a famous adviser to the king, so he decided to follow his words. He picked up the dead mouse by the tail and went off with it. As luck would have it, before he had gone even a block, a shopkeeper stopped him. He said, “My cat has been pestering me all morning. I’ll give you two copper coins for that mouse." So it was done.

With the two copper coins, he bought sweet cakes, and waited by the side of the road with them and some water. As he expected, some people who picked flowers for making garlands were returning from work. Since they were all hungry and thirsty, they agreed to buy sweet cakes and water for the price of a bunch of flowers from each of them. In the evening, the man sold the flowers in the city. With some of the money he bought more sweet cakes and returned the next day to sell to the flower pickers.

This went on for a while, until one day there was a terrible storm, with heavy rains and high winds. While walking by the king’s pleasure garden, he saw that many branches had been blown off the trees and were lying all around. So he offered to the king’s gardener that he would clear it all away for him, if he could keep the branches. The lazy gardener quickly agreed.

The man found some children playing in a park across the street. They were glad to collect all the branches and brush at the entrance to the pleasure garden, for the price of just one sweet cake for each child.

Along came the king’s potter, who was always on the lookout for firewood for his glazing oven. When he saw the piles of wood the children had just collected, he paid the man a handsome price for it. He even threw into the bargain some of his pots.

With his profits from selling the flowers and the firewood, the man opened up a refreshment shop. One day all the local grass mowers, who were on their way into town, stopped in his shop. He gave them free sweet cakes and drinks. They were surprised at his generosity and asked, “What can we do for you?" He said there was nothing for them to do now, but he would let them know in the future.

A week later, he heard that a horse dealer was coming to the city with 500 horses to sell. So he got in touch with the grass mowers and told each of them to give him a bundle of grass. He told them not to sell any grass to the horse dealer until he had sold his. In this way he got a very good price.

Time passed until one day, in his refreshment shop, some customers told him that a new ship from a foreign country had just anchored in the port. He saw this to be the opportunity he had been waiting for. He thought and thought until he came up with a good business plan.

First, he went to a jeweler friend of his and paid a low price for a very valuable gold ring, with a beautiful red ruby in it. He knew that the foreign ship was from a country that had no rubies of its own, where gold too was expensive. So he gave the wonderful ring to the captain of the ship as an advance on his commission. To earn this commission, the captain agreed to send all his passengers to him as a broker. He would then lead them to the best shops in the city. In turn, the man got the merchants to pay him a commission for sending customers to them.

Acting as a middle man in this way, after several ships came into port, the man became very rich. Being pleased with his success, he also remembered that it had all started with the words of the king’s wise adviser. So he decided to give him a gift of 100,000 gold coins. This was half his entire wealth. After making the proper arrangements, he met with the king’s adviser and gave him the gift, along with his humble thanks.

The adviser was amazed, and he asked, “How did you earn so much wealth to afford such a generous gift?" The man told him it had all started with the adviser’s own words not so long ago. They had led him to a dead mouse, a hungry cat, sweet cakes, bunches of flowers, storm damaged tree branches, children in the park, the king’s potter, a refreshment shop, grass for 500 horses, a golden ruby ring, good business contacts, and finally a large fortune.

Hearing all this, the royal adviser thought to himself, “It would not be good to lose the talents of such an energetic man. I too have much wealth, as well as my beloved only daughter. As this man is single, he deserves to marry her. Then he can inherit my wealth in addition to his own, and my daughter will be well cared for."

This all came to pass, and after the wise adviser died, the one who had followed his advice became the richest man in the city. The king appointed him to the adviser’s position. Throughout his remaining life, he generously gave his money for the happiness and well being of many people.

The moral is: With energy and ability, great wealth comes even from small beginnings.

4. The Mouse Merchant [Diligence and Gratitude]

Link: https://hhdorjechangbuddhaiiiinfo.com/2021/10/09/4-the-mouse-merchant-diligence-and-gratitude/

INTERPRETER’S INTRODUCTION – BUDDHIST TALES FOR YOUNG AND OLD, VOLUME 1, STORIES 1-50

#Buddhisttalesforyoungandold #Buddhiststories #storiesforkids #moralstories #Buddha #Jatakastories #PansiyaPanasJataka #diligence #gratitude

3. The Golden Plate

Story 3

The Golden Plate

 [Greed and Honesty]

Buddhist Tales for Young and Old, volume 1, Prince Goodspeaker, Stories 1-50

Once upon a time in a place called Seri, there were two salesmen of pots and pans and handmade trinkets. They agreed to divide the town between them. They also said that after one had gone through his area, it was all right for the other to try and sell where the first had already been.

One day, while one of them was coming down a street, a poor little girl saw him and asked her grandmother to buy her a bracelet. The old grandmother replied, “How can we poor people buy bracelets?" The little girl said, “Since we don’t have any money, we can give our black sooty old plate." The old woman agreed to give it a try, so she invited the dealer inside.

The salesman saw that these people were very poor and innocent, so he didn’t want to waste his time with them. Even though the old woman pleaded with him, he said he had no bracelet that she could afford to buy. Then she asked, “We have an old plate that is useless to us, can we trade it for a bracelet?" The man took it and, while examining it, happened to scratch the bottom of it. To his surprise, he saw that underneath the black soot, it was a golden plate! But he didn’t let on that he had noticed it. Instead he decided to deceive these poor people so he could get the plate for next to nothing. He said, “This is not worth even one bracelet. There’s no value in this. I don’t want it!" He left, thinking he would return later when they would accept even less for the plate.

Meanwhile the other salesman, after finishing in his part of town, followed after the first as they had agreed. He ended up at the same house. Again the poor little girl begged her grandmother to trade the old plate for a bracelet. The woman saw that this was a nice tender looking merchant and thought, “He’s a good man, not like the rough-talking first salesman." So she invited him in and offered to trade the same black sooty old plate for one bracelet. When he examined it, he too saw that it was pure gold under the grime. He said to the old woman, “All my goods and all my money together are not worth as much as this rich golden plate!"

Of course the woman was shocked at this discovery, but now she knew that he was indeed a good and honest fellow. So she said she would be glad to accept whatever he could trade for it. The salesman said, “I’ll give you all my pots and pans and trinkets, plus all my money, if you will let me keep just eight coins and my balancing scale, with its cover to put the golden plate in." They made the trade. He went down to the river, where he paid the eight coins to the ferry man to take him across.

By then the greedy salesman had returned, already adding up huge imaginary profits in his head. When he met the little girl and her grandmother again, he said he had changed his mind and was willing to offer a few cents, but not one of his bracelets, for the useless black sooty old plate. The old woman then calmly told him of the trade she had just made with the honest salesman, and said, “Sir, you lied to us."

The greedy salesman was not ashamed of his lies, but he was saddened as he thought, “I’ve lost the golden plate that must be worth a hundred thousand." So he asked the woman, “Which way did he go?" She told him the direction. He left all his things right there at her door and ran down to the river, thinking, “He robbed me! He robbed me! He won’t make a fool out of me!"

From the riverside he saw the honest salesman still crossing over on the ferry boat. He shouted to the ferry man, “Come back!" But the good merchant told him to keep on going to the other side, and that’s what he did.

Seeing that he could do nothing, the greedy salesman exploded with rage. He jumped up and down, beating his chest. He became so filled with hatred towards the honest man, who had won the golden plate, that he made himself cough up blood. He had a heart attack and died on the spot!

The moral is: “Honesty is the best policy."

The Golden Plate  [Greed and Honesty]

Link: https://hhdorjechangbuddhaiiiinfo.com/2021/10/01/3-the-golden-plate/

INTERPRETER’S INTRODUCTION – BUDDHIST TALES FOR YOUNG AND OLD, VOLUME 1, STORIES 1-50

#Buddhisttalesforyoungandold #Buddhiststories #storiesforkids #moralstories #Buddha #Jatakastories #PansiyaPanasJataka #greedandhonesty

2. Finding a New Spring [Perseverance]

Story 2

Finding a New Spring

 [Perseverance]

Buddhist Tales for Young and Old, volume 1, Prince Goodspeaker, Stories 1-50

Once upon a time a certain tradesman was leading a caravan to another country to sell his goods. Along the way they came to the edge of a severe hot-sand desert. They asked about and found that during the day time the sun heats up the fine sand until it’s as hot as charcoal, so no one can walk on it — not even bullocks or camels! So the caravan leader hired a desert guide, one who could follow the stars, so that they could travel only at night when the sand cools down. They began the dangerous night time journey across the desert.

A couple of nights later, after eating their evening meal, and waiting for the sand to cool, they started out again. Later that night the desert guide, who was driving the first cart, saw from the stars that they were getting close to the other side of the desert. He had also overeaten, so that when he relaxed, he dozed off to sleep. Then the bullocks who, of course, couldn’t tell directions by reading the stars, gradually turned to the side and went in a big wide circle until they ended up at the same place they had started from!

By then it was morning, and the people realized they were back at the same spot they’d camped at the day before. They lost heart and began to cry about their condition. Since the desert crossing was supposed to be over by now, they had no more water and were afraid they would die of thirst. They even began to blame the caravan leader and the desert guide — “We can do nothing without water!", they complained.

Then the tradesman thought to himself, “If I lose courage now, in the middle of this disastrous situation, my leadership has no meaning. If I fall to weeping and regretting this misfortune, and do nothing, all these goods and bullocks and even the lives of the people, including myself, may be lost. I must be energetic and face the situation!" So he began walking back and forth, trying to think out a plan to save them all.

Remaining alert, out of the corner of his eye, he noticed a small clump of grass. He thought, “Without water, no plant could live in this desert." So he called over the most energetic of his fellow travellers and asked them to dig up the ground on that very spot. They dug and dug, and after a while they got down to a large stone. Seeing it they stopped, and began to blame the leader again, saying “This effort is useless. We’re just wasting our time!" But the tradesman replied, “No no, my friends, if we give up the effort we will all be ruined and our poor animals will die — let us be encouraged!"

As he said this, he got down into the hole, put his ear to the stone, and heard the sound of flowing water. Immediately, he called over a boy who had been digging and said, “If you give up, we will all perish – so take this heavy hammer and strike the rock."

The boy lifted the hammer over his head and hit the rock as hard as he could — and he himself was the most surprised when the rock spilt in two and a mighty flow of water gushed out from under it! Suddenly, all the people were overjoyed. They drank and bathed and washed the animals and cooked their food and ate.

Before they left, they raised a high banner so that other travellers could see it from afar and come to the new spring in the middle of the hot-sand desert. Then they continued on safely to the end of their journey.

The moral is: Don’t give up too easily – keep on trying until you reach the goal

Finding a New Spring

Link: https://hhdorjechangbuddhaiiiinfo.com/2021/09/20/2-finding-a-new-spring-perseverance/

INTERPRETER’S INTRODUCTION – BUDDHIST TALES FOR YOUNG AND OLD, VOLUME 1, STORIES 1-50

#Buddhisttalesforyoungandold #Buddhiststories #storiesforkids #moralstories #Buddha #Jatakastories #PansiyaPanasJataka #preserverance